As part of AHRC New York City’s mission and values, our 5,000 staff members are devoted to the highest levels of excellence and innovation in all aspects of their work to actively create a world where the power of difference is embraced, valued, and celebrated. Christina Howell, Assistant Director of Residential Services based in Queens, believes that this excellence is achieved through the support of colleagues who can serve as mentors and teachers, especially for employees who were recently promoted and/or newly hired to managerial positions.

By investing in training and answering in-the-moment questions, we can offer our managers and assistant managers the opportunity to do their jobs better,” Christina said. Feeling there was an opportunity to provide encouragement and skill-building to recently promoted employees, Christina and her colleague, Residential Coordinator Naeem “Nick” Hassan, developed a management training curriculum and professional development tools to review each month. This promoted conversation about real issues that each manager or assistant manager was addressing and provided problem-solving tools for how they could rectify their issues.

“Feel Like They Want Us to Succeed”

These are a supplement to formal trainings at AHRC NYC,” Christina explained. Monthly meetings, held in-person and on virtual platforms, feature a less structured environment designed to answer specific questions from staff members. The training tackles important issues such as relationship management, best practices and procedures, and working through the transition of a promotion and/or a new environment.

Khadine King, Assistant Manager at 254th Street residence

Khadine King, Assistant Manager at 254th Street residence

I think the whole program should be shared,” said Khadine King, Assistant Manager at 254th Street residence. “To be a new person in a position you need all the help you can get. Your manager may be able to teach you a few things directly, but this really goes in depth. They sit down and take time every month to train us. They give us homework which I feel is great—it doesn’t feel like I’m in school, but this is how I learn. It makes me feel like they want to see us succeed.”

Nathoya Shury, the Manager at AHRC  NYC’s 213th Street residence, has also engaged with the training program.

I’m a hands-on person, I need to look at things to learn the best,” Nathoya said. She explained how Christina and other trainers go step-by-step through important documentation. “It’s been helpful to learn how to stay ahead of deadlines, how to be organized in our processes, and how to correct everything that needs to be corrected.”

Maintaining Positive Relationships with Stakeholders

Alricka Francis, Assistant Manager at Bellerose residence

Alricka Francis, Assistant Manager at AHRC NYC’s Bellerose residence

Alricka Francis, Assistant Manager at Bellerose, cited incident reporting strategies as particularly helpful due to the complex nature of the reports and the pressure involved in making sure all their information is correct for outside entities such as OPWDD to process.

I want to excel and help the people we support on a management level,” Alricka said. “Through this training, I’ve been able to get the skills to do that independently. I love taking advantage of it.”

Sharon Williams, Manager at Bellerose residence

Sharon Williams, Manager at AHRC NYC’s Bellerose residence

Christina says that a key aspect of managerial positions is learning how to develop and to maintain positive relationships with all residential stakeholders—colleagues, residents, and family members. Sharon Williams, who recently became the Manager at Bellerose residence, said that the interpersonal strategies Christina and Nick provided allowed her to handle a difficult situation more smoothly.

The main thing is tailoring communication to meet their needs and to remind them that we are all working together as a team,” Sharon said. “I get great support through these trainings, and when you love what you do that makes it very easy to succeed.”

Angela Williams, Assistant Manager at Pembroke Residence, said that the program has given her confidence, reinforcing her belief in herself and others.

We work with a good team, and we work for great people. Whatever you want to do in this field, you can do because you’ll have people behind you that can support you.”